Fighting Red Tide: Drones Could Be Next Move

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commissioners spent a good part of Wednesday talking about how to battle future red tide outbreaks, and how to help local communities that have to clean up what the algae blooms leave behind.

FWC chair Rodney Barreto says drones could be used to monitor waters for outbreaks. They could also play a role in cleanup efforts, expanding on the use of sheriff's office helicopters.

“Let the state fund it and let’s get the best technology available. It’s going to be cheaper than a helicopter," Barreto said.

Gil McRae, who heads the FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, says another way to prepare is to put a funding source in place for local governments. McRae says they're the only choice for dealing with fish kill cleanup, because they're already in the waste removal business. More than 600 tons of dead fish have been hauled away from beaches in and near Tampa Bay in this summer's outbreak.

Another key issue: improving water quality and reducing nutrients going into the water.

Information from the News Service of Florida was used in this story.

Photo: Getty Images

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